Today, I got up around 5:30am. I woke without an alarm, feeling rested and with boundless energy. I fed my cat, ate breakfast, and finished a book. Then, I was still antsy with energy, so I went for a lovely 7am bike ride. This from a young adult who used to stay up until at least 2am and rarely rise before 10am in college.
I’m sure this shift is influenced by a multitude of factors, a large one being that I’ve been waking up at 5:30 Monday-Friday to work at a day camp. But nonetheless, if I had to wake up that early a year ago, it would not have come as easily. And this circadian rhythm shift started months before I began working again.
Perhaps it is influenced by hormonal or neurological changes now that I’ve passed twenty-five, the average age when human brains finishing maturing. Circadian rhythms tend to change and shift earlier as we age.
But still, I can’t shake the fact that I’ve become such a morning person. I could see my internal clock shifting an hour or two, but I went from several hours behind average to several hours early. It’s about a five hour shift, if not more some days.
Maybe my improved mental health and lifted depression has something to do with it? Yet, if you ask my mom, I’ve always been a night owl, even as a baby. This was before I had developed diagnosable depression.
I have no clear reason why I have become a morning person. It’s probably because of a mix of factors. All I know is it feels incredibly weird.
What this also means though is now by about 5 or 6pm I am tired. And when I’m tired, I’m anxious. I don’t know what to do to myself, so I turn to ruminating thoughts. I begin to feel lonely and bored. It’s what my friends and I call existential crisis o’clock. Before I used to feel most energized and productive at night, but exhausted in the morning. Mornings were a struggle; nighttime was my prime. It’s an adjustment, to say the least, to have everything somewhat suddenly flipped on its head.
I’m trying to find ways to fill the evening hours. I think a routine and structure could be useful. But I’m also just radically accepting that my circadian rhythm has shifted. If I’m ready for bed now at 9pm, I let myself go to bed. There’s no good reason to force myself to stay awake to try to have the schedule I had in high school or college.
Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve literally always been a night owl. Who am I waking up naturally before the sun is up? I’m still adjusting. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my sunrise filled and flower scented mornings.